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How Will Your Team Benefit from Pre-employment Office Tests?

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Companies and public sector agencies can quickly lose money by hiring people who are unable to perform the basic tasks for the job. Carefully selecting future employees can save money and prevent new hires from not being successful.

The benefits of using pre-employment tests to measure specific job-related skills, as well as behavioral and cognitive aptitude, have been discussed in detail. We know that they help organizations rank the candidates based on their skills or behavioral traits.

Because Microsoft Office is one of the most commonly used business tools in the workplace, it’s critical that HR teams measure candidates’ knowledge of the programs. It’s simple to do these days, as pre-employment Office tests are now easier to use than they have ever been.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

Research on Hiring Costs

Talent acquisition teams know the costs involved when it comes to hiring and onboarding. These costs include advertising for the position, recruiting teams’ time, orientation, and training costs. Regardless of organization’s size, keeping a lid on recruiting costs is essential. If companies fail to optimize their hiring processes, they risk exceeding the allocated budget for recruiting.

A proven strategy to reduce the odds of a “mis-hire” is to use pre-employment tests, such as Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word skills assessment. Pre-employment tests can screen candidates and determine if their skill set matches those needed for the job position.


How Employee Selection Affects Performance

An article by Sapling reported sobering data for hiring statistics in 2021. As expected, companies continue to place a high priority on strategic hiring and onboarding. There are many job options for talented workers in today’s market.  As a result, it’s critical that these individuals are engaged, motivated, and driven from the start, because talent is scarce and the wrong hire can delay a company’s goals by a quarter or more.

BambooHR spoke with a number of HR experts who agreed that focusing on the employee experience during the hiring process can result in higher retention, improved employee happiness, and, with such a positive experience, new employees and coworkers (and their managers) can collaborate more effectively.

Businesses with an amazing onboarding process increase new employee retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%, according to a paper by the Brandon Hall Group. Companies can save money on hiring by using a well-established strategy to hire, train, and make people productive sooner.

How does pre-employment testing affect onboarding? If the wrong (unskilled) person is added to the team, then even the positive onboarding experience will be wasted. Plus, hiring managers can use pre-employment tests to get precise data about which skills new hires need to learn. For example, if a new hire had a low performance during Microsoft Word skills assessment, they can be offered a little extra time to catch up with the rest of the team after their onboarding.

Discovering the True Knowledge of Candidates

A Harvard Business Review article stated that resumes are no longer sufficient. Disruptive technologies have flooded the marketplace and the globe in 2021. Not all firms have fully embraced these technologies because of the effort involved. Processes must be put in place to ensure that daily tasks are completed without hiccups.

Traditional hiring processes based on resumes are no longer sufficient, as they can fail to identify the traits required of today’s leaders, and their outdated criteria may prevent many talented candidates from even being considered.


Why Businesses Should Not Rely On Resumes Alone 

Resumes alone aren’t the sole factor HR professionals should consider when hiring. Resumes are great for an overall view of the listed skills. But according to CNBC’s Make It, 11% of Millennials have admitted to inflating their resumes to make themselves stand out. Of that 11%, 38% lied about their work experience, and another 31% lied about their employment dates.

Surprisingly, 84% of employers reported that they would consider an applicant who did not have the necessary work experience. Furthermore, 62% of those polled stated they were offered a job even though they didn’t meet all of the requirements.

A common area where applicants can exaggerate is their technology skills, such as Microsoft Office. Given the ubiquity of Microsoft Office programs, it is critical for potential new workers to have solid Office skills in order to be considered for the position. But how will HR teams verify this? It can be easily done – starting with Microsoft Word skills assessment, and adding tests for Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, and other technology tools.


How Pre-Employment Tests Provide Equal Opportunity

Most, if not all, companies pride themselves on being equal opportunity employers. Unfortunately, the reality is that the hiring process can be biased and flawed, which has been proven in research data.

Francesca Gino of the Harvard Business School stated that “unconscious biases have a crucial and “problematic” impact on our judgment. They are what drives us to make decisions that favor one candidate or group over others.” Bias can obstruct diversity, recruiting, promotion, and retention efforts in the workplace.

Using pre-employment tests in the hiring process can help remove some unconscious bias. Beyond testing, there are tools that help HR professionals do blind hiring when hunting for top talent. These tools have been specifically designed to omit sensitive data like name, gender, age, and nationality that have been shown to cause recruiting bias.

How Pre-Employment Tests Can Be Used to Improve Training

Pre-employment Office tests can help firms be more accurate in their applicant screening and training processes. Understanding candidates’ skills is critical when customizing the hiring and training process. This can allow the candidate to work independently sooner, which translates into significant savings down the line.

Employers can save money on unnecessary training by using pre-employment skills assessment tests to determine which abilities need to be developed. Similarly, if a candidate lacks a required skill for the job, tests can assist HR teams to identify this early on, allowing them to focus on individuals who are more qualified and will take less time to train.


How Tests Are Used to Find the Best Employees for Remote Work

It’s not uncommon these days for a new employee to start working for a company without ever seeing their manager or visiting the office in person. Interviews are conducted online, and employees begin their careers by working from home. By 2025, it is estimated that 36.2 million Americans will likely be working remotely, up 87% from pre-pandemic levels, according to Upwork.

With the shift to remote work, employers utilize pre-employment tests as part of the hiring process to get a baseline measurement. Candidates will need excellent technology ability and familiarity with software tools needed to work remotely and collaborate while away from the office.

Depending on criteria for the ideal new hire, different pre-employment tests can be used as a part of the hiring process. There may be preferences for key remote working traits that candidates must have. For example, there are pre-hire behavioral tests targeted specifically for remote jobs.

Alternatively, if software is used on a daily basis by the company, such as Microsoft Office Suite for various clerical positions, a simple MS Word test or an Excel assessment can be used to find the candidate with the necessary degree of skill.


How the Public Sector Benefits from Pre-Employment Office Tests

The benefits of using pre-employment Office tests for hiring processes are not limited to private organizations. The same is true in the public sector, where administrative work is critical to government and education.

Whether an employee is presenting a new idea to supervisors or a class of students, knowing how to use PowerPoint is often a necessary skill. Similarly, communication via email and document sharing can be even more important to effectively operate in the public sector.

As taxpayers support the public sector, it is even more important that every dollar is spent wisely rather than squandered. This emphasizes the importance of screening for adequate skills and expertise for any administrative position. Hiring a candidate who will need to extensively be trained can be a costly endeavor. Pre-employment Office tests can be helpful in the long run, as they save money by preventing mis-hires and make public sector employees more productive and efficient.                   


When looking for new personnel, private companies and public sector organizations might benefit from using more stringent hiring strategies. It can be argued that stricter hiring procedures will make it more difficult for people to be hired, but skilled candidates need not be concerned.

HR professionals can be trained to use new tools that remove unconscious bias and are educated on which skills and values they should look for in a candidate. Many employers are willing to overlook insufficient work experience, as long as candidates have adequate people skills that help them collaborate well with each other.

Relying solely on resumes is no longer a viable option. At the same time, focusing solely on the results of the pre-employment Office test isn’t a good idea either, as each hiring tool has its own important place in the HR toolbox. However, businesses should strive toward optimizing their hiring process when it comes to hiring by honing in on the necessary skills for all administrative workers.

EmployTest specializes in developing pre-employment tests for the public sector (government), companies, and nonprofits. Contact us for a free sample of our Microsoft Office skills test – and learn more about what we offer on our Test List page.